(The American Catholic will observe its tenth anniversary in October. We will be reposting some classic TAC posts of the past. This post is from August 29, 2011.)
August 29 is the feast day of the beheading of John the Baptist, the herald of Christ. Charlton Heston, in the video clip above, gave a powerful portrayal of the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told, capturing the raw courage and energy that animated John the Baptist as a result of the blazing faith he had in God. Like Elijah, John came out of the wilderness to fearlessly proclaim the word of God, but what Elijah and the other prophets could only glimpse darkly, the coming of the Messiah, John saw with his own eyes. The last and greatest of the prophets, John fulfilled the role of Elijah as proclaimed by the prophet Malachi:
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.
Saint John the Baptist is a standing rebuke to all Catholics who become lukewarm in the Faith and are simply going through the motions. In Christ, the Creator of the Universe came to us, walked among us as one of us, and died for us. Our reaction to those astonishing facts should always be a faith as zealous as that shown by the Baptist unto death.